With the conclusion of the Second World War, many Poles were unable to,
or did not want to return to their homeland for various reasons and as
such made the decision to emigrate to Australia and begin a new life for
themselves and their families. They were ex-servicemen and women,
displaced persons, etc.
As Poles have done for countless generations, they began to form various
organizations to uphold their old traditions and their identities, to
elevate their homesickness, finding solace with their own kind in a
strange and at times inhospitable new land.
Sport has always been a major enjoyment to Poles and as such a Polish
Soccer Club was inevitable.
The foundation meeting was held on 13 August 1950 at 93 Brighton Road
St Kilda. The first committee was elected on 27 August 1950 and consisted
of Wladyslaw Kowalik - President, Wiktor Kwiatkowski - Hon. Secretary,
Franek Skowronski - Treasurer, Kazimierz Zielinski - Team Manager,
Boleslaw Mlenski - Coach, Mieczyslaw Terlikowski - Team Manager. The
meeting decided that the Club would be named Polonia Soccer Club...
"Polonia" being Latin for Poland and the colours of red and white adopted.
Polonia played its first game against JUST (holders of the World Cup) and
defeated them 4:3. It was the beginning of a meteoric climb and the
beginning of the golden fifties and sixties for the Club.
Polonia became 4th Division Champions in their first season of existence
1951, 3rd Division Champions in 1952 and World Cup Champions in 1953.
Destroying all opposition.
Players, who starred in these early days and will be remembered by many
were Stefan Czauderna and Robert Zablocki, pivot for the Victorian team
that played the touring England team in 1952. Stasek Galecki was the best
left wing in the State at the time and Augus Dziura, a fine goal scoring
During these early years, Polonia was fortunate to have amongst its ranks,
the dynamic figure of Ted Lezon, a person gifted with explosive energy
and controversial temperament which gave the Club plenty of drive and lift
and who to this day is still an influence to the present. In 1956, Ted
Lezon was entertaining officials of the Polish Olympic Teams and jokingly
said "What about Polonia getting some top class players from Poland", that
remark set the ball rolling, Dr Charles Walker, who was present at the
time, had influential connections in Poland and the joke became reality.
On the 13 June 1959, the first five of a long line of Polish stars arrived
in Melbourne. They were Roch Dronia, Ryszard Szczepanski, Kaz Szygalski,
Marian Gasior and Viktor Janczyk.
Polonia secured approval to play its matches at Maribyrnong at the old
Tracy Speedway venue and in an effort to assimilate with the local
community renamed themselves "Polonia Maribyrnong Soccer Club". They
remained at this venue until 1992, at which time they moved to the Polish
Sports & Recreation Centre Albion where facilities were created for their
Polonia has always been a force to contend with in Victorian Soccer circles
and has won countless titles.
Polonia today is known as Western Eagles Soccer Club, the Polonia being
dropped as a requirement of the Victorian Soccer Federation to shed their
Today, Western Eagles (Polonia) find themselves in the Victorian Soccer
Federation Provisional League Division 3 NorthWest. A legacy of their
disastrous merger venture with Melbourne City in season 1999.
Polonia has been gifted with having some of the most influential people in
Polish circles amongst its ranks, the likes of Ted Lezon, who has served
in every capacity within the Club and is accredited with single handedly,
saving the Club from extinction, soon after its glorious 1987 State League
Championship Win. He has been a mentor to many of the present committee
and still casts his long shadow today.
The late Tomasz Ostrowski, gifted writer, journalist, philosopher
extraordinary and Champion of Polish causes.
Despite many hardships, Polonia continues to exist today and is celebrating
its 50th year of existence. Current President Darren Bednarski (past player
and now successful businessman) has embed new life to the Club and with
the appointment of Leszek Dzielakowski as head Coach, the Club is well on
its way to recapture former glories.
IMPORTED PLAYERS FROM POLAND:
|BARAN Janusz||BONK Bogdan
|BROWARSKI Josef||DUDON Jerzy
|DZIELAKOWSKI Leszek|| GADECKI Zygmunt
|GAJDA Norbert||GAMAJ Wieslaw
|GASIOR Marian||GAWLIK Jan
|GRONOWSKI Henry||GRONOWSKI Robert
|GROSS Zygmunt||JANCZYK Wieslaw
|JANKOWSKI Edmund||JURECKI Mieczyslaw
|KATOLIK Stefan||KONOPKA Marek
|KOSTRZEWA Zdislaw||KOWALEC Kazimierz
|KRYSINSKI Taseusz||LERCH Eugenius
|LITWIN Miroslaw||MARUSZKEWICZ Zdislaw
|MILA Stefan||PRZYBYLA Janusz
|PRZYBYLSKI Bernard||PUTKOWSKI Bruno
|SEKULSKI Ryszard||SMOLAREK Mirek
|SWOBODA Jerzy||SZCZEPANSKI Ryszard
|SZKALEK Stanislaw||WARSZAWSKI Grzegorz
|WIDERA Edek||WRZOS Ryszard
|WSZOLA Andrzej||WYSCILIK Jan
|ZIENTARA Edmund||ZURAWSKI Josef
|Wladyslaw Kowalik||Zdislaw Zabuski
|Dr. Charles Walker||Wiktor Ertel
|Marian Zarzycki||Janusz Klimecki
|Basil Sowiak||George Kerry
|Wladyslaw Suwinski||George Pater
|Mieczyslaw Zurek||Richard Makarucha
|Tadeusz Lezon||Joe Gorczynski
|Henry Dressler||Mirek Rybak
|Wally Klain||John Pater
|Darren Bednarski (Current)